04.07.2011 - 04.07.2011
The day we crossed Nevada was Independence Day and it was great fun to see the few towns we passed through gearing up for the celebrations. Despite it being only breakfast time when we arrived in Eureka, the town was buzzing with a BBQ outside the saloon, decorations everywhere and people generally out and about.
We absorbed the buzz from the corner of a nice coffee shop where the owner's kids told us about the day's celebration, one of the cafe workers arrived dressed as a modern Lady Liberty, and they urged us to stay for the day's festivities. The only other town of any size we passed through, Austin, was also getting ready for their parade with people having picked out their parade-watching spot early, sitting in wait on the side of the road.
We were excited to spend the night of 4th of July in such an iconic, American summer holiday spot as Lake Tahoe. The approach south along the eastern lake edge was gorgeous, with the clear blue water framed by the Sierra Nevadas. We pitched up to our camp site in Zephyr Cove, just across the road from the beach and there was still enough afternoon left for a swim. Down at the beach, we felt propelled back about 15 years. There were thousands of college-age students packed onto a small stretch of the beach, burning to crisps, checking each other out and enjoying the holiday. We passed the security check point unharassed (I guess they figured that with a pushchair we were unlikely to smuggle booze in) and went further down the beach to escape the thickest part of the crowd but close enough to people watch. The lake water was cold with snow still visible on the mountains opposite, but the sun was warm so we spent a couple of hours lying on the beach, watching the drunk and sunburnt but mostly good-natured revellers. Tried to dip Arthur's toes in the lake but he was having none of it – too cold for his delicate constitution.
Dinner back in Harrison and about 9pm we gentled the slumbering Arthur into the backpack and walked along to the next bay to watch the fireworks display. With someone having set up the complimentary music tracks on their speakers, we watched the red, white and blue explosions and listened to patriotic music,with another fireworks display on the opposite shore line a mirror to ours. It was a warm, still and beautiful night and we were happy to be at the lake, sitting on the sand, watching the fireworks and sharing the 4th of July celebrations with Americans. A really special moment of our trip so far.